In October 1988, women business owners secured their rights. Read about VOLS' support today for women small business owners.

October 25, 2019

Thirty-one years ago on October 25, 1988, Congress passed the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988. This Act enshrined several monumental civil rights for women, one of which was the right of women to be able to obtain business loans without the co-signature of a male relative. For this reason, October is designated as National Women’s Small Business Month.

The Microenterprise Project is thrilled to honor National Women’s Small Business Month by recognizing our women-owned business clients, the volunteer attorneys who have helped them, and our community partners that have guided them. Over the last five years, almost two-thirds of Microenterprise Project clients identified as a woman-owned business.

Although women have come a long way in the business world in the last thirty years, there are still plenty of challenges that many women entrepreneurs face, especially in small business ownership.  Our project partners have unique perspectives on the challenges and benefits of operating a woman-owned business.


“Women entrepreneurs have the passion, dedication and grit to launch and build a successful business however the reality is many, particularly women of color, face important barriers in order to realize their dreams.”


-Delia Awusi, Director of the Brooklyn and Staten Island BOC Women's Business Center



“The last two women I represented both had big plans for their businesses which included ways to get involved in their communities beyond the four walls of their establishment.  They both knew their business subject matter in and out and came in with well thought out plans for implementation. The enthusiasm of these ladies to take a risk and sign on to a long term commitment to grow their businesses is inspiring!”


-Debra Sapp, Microenterprise Project Volunteer Attorney, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP



“Don’t give up because there are a lot of people that are going to push you away and not take you seriously.”


-Angela Elizade, Small Business Owner and Microenterprise Client



“National Women’s Small Business Month is a great reminder of the tenacity and compassion that women bring to entrepreneurship. We’re proud to support them on their journey by drawing on the expertise of VOLS staff and our extensive network of pro bono attorneys.”


-Kelsey Ripper, Director, VOLS Microenterprise Project




Above: VOLS staff attorney Ivia Cardozo with Mami Endo, owner of Hariyama Ballet.


October 21-25 is National Pro Bono Week 2019. Click here to read VOLS' other #ProBonoWeek features.